Many video games developed over the past several decades have endured to ravages of time and still have enthusiastic followers. Video games certainly require physical skill to play but demand several higher order qualities such as patience, planning, social interaction and even empathy. That probably explains why many arcades and bars throughout Minnesota still offer this recreational pastime. Here are five leading purveyors of this new mode of recreation in America.
224 Broadway St S.
Jordan, MN 55352
ZAP Arcade outshines all others for old electronic games. It even hosts all night lock-in parties from time to time called “The Koolest Nerd Lock-In.” It also has hosted video game tournaments — check their Facebook page for announcements. Gamers of all ages will find several multicades, featuring games like Ms. Pac-Man and Mario Bros. Go to ZAP for all the beat ’em up games and fighting games from years ago. The arcade also has all the old game consoles like NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Wii, PS2 Guitar Hero and N64.
Blainbrook Entertainment Center
12000 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55434
Pinball Tournament Times: First Sun. and second Sat. Monthly from 2 to 4:45 p.m.
Price: No fees to enter tournament but you pay to play the machines.
Blainebrook has over 50 games of every variety for all ages. The Entertainment Center has a whole row of classic pinball machines, several early electronic games and the latest in virtual reality games. Pin ballers of all ages can play the machines and compete in a semi-monthly tournament. Those who qualify in the first round will start play at 5 p.m. All participants receive a drink token. Winner receives $30 cash and can win prizes as runners up or winners of side tournaments. The arcade has games like Asteroids, Birdie King, Centipede, Defender, Donkey Kong, Mario Brothers, Ms Pac-Man and Pac-Man.
3012 Lyndale Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Newly opened Up Down offers over 50 vintage arcade games from the dawn of electronic technology, pinball machines, four classic skee-ball alleys, Nintendo 64 console gaming, giant jenga and connect four. Play any of these games for just 25 cents. Pinball machines change frequently but the latest inventory list comprised of Addams Family, Attack From Mars, Family Guy, Funhouse, Ghostbusters, Iron Man, Metallica, Star Trek, South Park and T2. Wait staff on hand will serve up a homemade pizza and a beer. Order from a list of unique toppings for your pizza. Bartenders offer a list of 60 beers on tap, including some rare craft beers.
Fallout Shelter Arcade
451 Taft St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
FSA is an advanced video arcade but maintains a selection of classic arcade games on board and tabletop. For example, FSA has two large Neo Geo Cabinet Arcade Machines housing the 90s home console-based Mega Man Power Battle, rail shooter game Revolution X or Atari’s Gauntlet Legends. The advanced games are in-network simulator cockpits with joysticks much like a plane or a military vehicle where up to 12 people can play a game like BattleTech mission, or eight people can play a Red Planet mission. People of all ages are welcome to play here. The arcade is open only Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons and evenings. The arcade closes whenever the pods are leased to conventions like MantiCon, 2D Con, Anime or Wizard World Comic Con.
2600 Lyndale Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
For those who want the holistic experience of being at an adult retro bar playing retro games, try the C.C. Club. Choose between video games, pinball or pool. The club features a 60-in-1 multicade with vintage video games like Donkey Kong, Frogger or Asteroids. It has tabletop Galaga/Miss Pac Man and other games like Tetris, NFL Blitz ’99 and Big Buck Hunter.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.